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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Stonecash, Jeffrey / Hopkins, David

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Volume 14, Issue 4


The Unexceptional Gender Gap of 2016

Barry C. Burden / Evan Crawford / Michael G. DeCrescenzo
Published Online: 2017-02-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/for-2016-0039


Because of the particular candidates who ran, the 2016 presidential campaign was defined by gender to a remarkable degree. This led many observers to expect a historically large gender gap in voting. In contrast to these expectations, the gender gap between men and women’s votes in 2016 was only slightly larger than in other recent elections. We argue that an immense gender divide did not emerge because it was constrained by high levels of partisanship in the electorate, especially “negative partisanship” toward the opposing party that leaves little room for gender to matter. In addition, we challenge two common assumptions: that the gender gap helps Democratic candidates and that women were more persuadable than men over the course of the campaign. Both men and women vacillated in their views of Clinton’s honesty during the campaign, with men shifting away from her and toward Trump just before election day.


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About the article

Barry C. Burden

Barry Burden is professor of political science and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His recent publications include The Measure of American Elections (co-edited with Charles Stewart III) and “How Different Forms of Health Matter to Political Participation” in the Journal of Politics (with Jason Fletcher, Pamela Herd, Bradley Jones, and Donald Moynihan).

Evan Crawford

Evan Crawford is a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a graduate fellow in the Interdisciplinary Training Program at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. His research interests include elections, voting behavior, and local politics.

Michael G. DeCrescenzo

Michael DeCrescenzo is a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduate student assistant to the Elections Research Center. His research interests include elections, public opinion, campaign finance, and statistical methodology.

Published Online: 2017-02-22

Published in Print: 2016-12-01

Citation Information: The Forum, Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 415–432, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, ISSN (Print) 2194-6183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/for-2016-0039.

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